There are many things that have done my head in since landing in NY. For starters, the bread here is terrible. Truly awful. And expensive. I’m talking the staple grocery bread as opposed to the artisan kind. It is closer to donut than bread. I actually read the ingredients list to try and understand what it is they’re doing to it but it was so long I gave up. I’ve never read the ingredients list on a loaf of bread before. I should have been able to get through life without ever needing to.
I have to stop writing about this now because it’s making me angry and the crappy bread isn’t even the purpose of this post. I probably have to go buy a breadmaker. Dammit. I had no intention of being that domesticated. Look at what you’re turning me into America. I’ll be in a flour dusted pinny shortly. And don’t even start me on the bog roll here. Unbelievable.
Anyway, enough of that. Do you know what Hurricane’s current favourite game is? It’s called Guess the Dog. It started out as Spot the Poo and then evolved – though Chaos is still a spotter so frequently initiates the game and gets to play too. The rule is simple, you guess what kind of dog is likely responsible for laying every turd you see. Not breed of dog obviously, just size and colour. Big black, short brown, ratty white – the dog that is, though you could be forgiven for thinking I was describing the poo. Generally Hurricane equates the two anyway.
This city is caked in dog poo. That isn’t hyperbole, it is literally left to bake on the sidewalks. In the peak of summer the entirety of Manhattan smells like an obese man’s jocks after a post-curry GoT season binge. That’s the real reason everyone with money heads to the Hamptons for two months, probably sans dogs just to rub it in.
Out here in suburbia it’s just as bad. Worse even. Not only do dog owners – an obviously feral breed of human – have complete disregard for concrete paths, but they also sully every patch of green they can find. One of the very first actions I was forced to undertake on arrival here was to train Hurricane on identifying and avoiding the common dog drop so he didn’t go picking them up and putting them in my pockets like he does with everything else he finds.
So yes, I created the game. It has been far more effective than I imagined, probably due to it being completely non challenging. I doubt they will ever stop spotting poo. All because NY dog owners seem to believe it is their constitutional right to leave it where it lies.
I can appreciate that it is a humbling experience to have to bend over in public, hand in bag, to collect another living being’s stool. The stench of digested horse meat is probably unpleasant, and the warmth radiating in your palm likely unsettling, but that is the social (and legal) contract you signed when you got a dog. If you don’t like it, don’t own a dog.
After all, just because I don’t like you, doesn’t mean I am entitled to pop a squat on your car bonnet and leave yesterday’s pancake breakfast for you to inspect. The contract I uphold is not to defecate on your property. So if I’m upholding my end of the bargain, why can’t you?
It’s all well and good to pen a rant. It’s cathartic, mostly. But I know it’s not enough, so I have started taking a solution-focused approach to this problem. An experiment of sorts. I am the guy that stops, stands and stares when I see your dog taking a dump. The kids are happy to play their part too. Though I’m working on them to stay silent so it is creepier. Give them time.
Ideally, I want your pooch to become so terrified of laying its load in public it won’t leave the house before filling your boots. Obviously that is an unlikely outcome, so I will settle for making you feel so uncomfortable that whether you are carrying a bag or not, you will pick it up. I am currently 2 for 2, and one of those definitely didn’t want to collect. They resented me, deeply. And it made me happy.
Maybe if this blog ever exceeds its current audience of 63 and enough locals read this, we can form a posse of observers. Call ourselves the Paw Pootrol. Someone who likes admin could even create a spreadsheet of established offenders. Imagine how intimidating it would be to be surrounded by strangers staring at you while your mutt squeezes one out. You would go bare hand. There’s no way you wouldn’t. The pressure would get to you. And then there’s always the threat that we film it and post it to Instagram #youpoopyouscoop #PawPootrolexpose. Name and shame.
Maybe I’ve just started a revolution. My gift to NY. You’re welcome.